A free lunch or ride may have a hidden, non monetary cost or obligation attached to it in the real world, but do the same rules apply in the virtual realm. Is there such a thing as a free website?
What are free web templates?
A website template is basically a pre-made web page. Similar to other kinds of templates like Microsoft Word document templates for fax headers. The web templates will usually include the complete layout with graphics, but would not include any text.
The use of free web templates is predominantly by the DIY, or ‘have a go hero’ web enthusiast, where ‘no experience necessary’ heeds no warning as to the quality of the end product.
In order to display the end site, the template is first downloaded from the designer’s site, and then edited by the DIY enthusiast using software like Dreamweaver. They will then proceed to add in the text relevant to their own needs, be they personal or business.
Are free web templates any good?
As a rule of thumb, is anything ‘free’ going to be any good?
Free web templates are generally used in two ways. First is by the hobbyist who doesn’t care for design, brand or image and whom just wants to have a personal web page to talk about personal interests or perhaps a fanzine of some sort.
The second and more worrying is by individuals or companies for commercial use.
Free web templates are typically downloaded hundreds, thousands, if not tens of thousands of times each, and their use commercially speaks volumes about the business behind it.
Templates are what the name implies. They are not unique and not designed around the specific needs of the user and in such a commercially developed world, standing out from the crowd is what gets you business, not hiding amongst it.
Are they really free?
Putting aesthetics aside for a moment, are free web templates really free?
Free has the same meaning online as well as off in that your meal ticket may well be asking for a favour, as opposed to hard currency. Whilst offline favours can be varied and even sordid (if that’s your thing), thankfully online, the favours usually extend only to keeping a link in the template to the original designers own site.